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tv   [untitled]    October 1, 2012 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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into the arab winter where does this great liberation project stand in the arab middle east and where's it going are the forces of reaction including the western powers again in control of the pace of political change and is it inevitable that we will have to accept the idea of islamic democracy. ok. to cross out the winds of change i'm joined by the idea used in washington he's a research director at the such a foundation in berkeley we have shapiro he is a freelance journalist and contributor to salon dot com and in london we cross to naseem oxman he is a senior researcher at the palestine return center all right gentlemen cross-like rules in effect you can jump anytime you want and i see if i can go with go to you first i mean where is the arab spring going we're literally in the fall right now is there a winter approaching for the arab spring. i think so far. nothing
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settled at the moment the dust from the arab spring which started three years ago has not totally settled but having said that there are many positive signs within within egypt the. morsi has made very very strong comments about. israel and also his has maintained his his status as a president without. causing too much. controversy within the arab world we need of course but having said that there are of course groups within is within within egypt who are trying to derail this project but they are few and far between but overall i think there is a positive sign and only in the next few decades we'll know how how well it evolves into a good. economy clear successful democracy and i see if i can stay with you when you mean by positive define positive in this context because maybe for some other
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people it's not positive go ahead well. the rule of law anyway has been reinstated the p.p. people are allowed to go and demonstrate is they won so there is there is power that's been given to the given to the public there is a separation within the judiciary and with the president so there is this semblance of democracy within. within egypt so having said that of course we cannot accept the same kind of democracy as you might find in the west because it's very new democracy so will you have to give countries like egypt countries like libya comes out tunisia time for them to settle their democracy essential to dust and and remove all the. norm stay actors who are causing violence who are causing who want this project to fail so once they can overcome and overwhelm these different organizations and you have centralized power and you have all the different organizations that can see the positives coming out of this spring i
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think you will have you have some kind of a positive change within the middle east ok. so you're nodding your head you're in agreement with what we just heard you know first of all peter i just want to say thanks for having me back on the show great having i mean i am not sure how accurate any of these seasonal analogies every year are but in general i agree with the scene that there is a lot of progress to be seen across the middle east if you look over the long view . you have countries like tunisia and egypt. moving towards more democratic forms of government a lot of a lot more opportunities for popular input in the decision making of course there is a lot of dark spots of people are focusing a lot on syria right now for good reason but overall i mean there's a lot more hope across the region over the last couple years and i definitely agree with what seems take ok could hear your turn what do you think about all of this i mean is it on the right track as we see the dust settle or we're going to see more
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of a whirlwind. i do i do agree broadly with the seam there was a regional security structure in place supported by arthur terry and lou really leaders and rulers in the middle east and people are demanding more and more representative governments and that's an irreversible trend. as we were saying there will be dark spots and this is a very this is a situation in flux and we will continue to see this over the coming years but i feel like it's not a reversible. move. people are demanding more representative governments and you're seeing much more positive developments in that sense than the negative months of course syria remains a dark spot and syria will not be settled for a long time even if assad's regime falls ok but.
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it's very interesting we haven't talked about the gulf countries here i mean the reactionary powers and i seem to think their role is moving forward and we're looking at syria obviously abs. absolutely i've. only got enough seems to be in line to go ahead sure sure i can't imagine that the gulf countries will follow the same trend in the near future as some of the. north african countries. there are a lot more you could say repressive there isn't this development of civic society as you have in egypt egypt more or less they have a very educated population of a vast population and they have they have a growing middle class by can emerge in the gulf countries where the ruling fact family ruling elites. controls everything. and where most of the workers are expatriates who are sustaining that country i can't imagine that this will take
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place in the next decade but having said that they might have ways to actually change the change their country and introduce more democratic reform process within the monarchic regime they can do that in various ways there are not have the same kind of revolution and maybe something we should hope for because of the way these countries are then we should maybe hope for change democratic reform within the constraints of the monarchy is not the best but this is probably what we can expect in the next few decades. they're all different countries over different in their own unique ways but the gulf countries i'm sad to say but hopefully we'll have some changes be what what if we use a term like you just go ahead jump in but you know let's talk about what kind of democracies we're talking about go ahead. well first of all i just wanted to say you know in regards to your question about the gulf i think when you when you when you look at some of these these gulf countries you see some of the uglier
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contradictions in the real you know exposes some of the real power politics at play in the region you have you know the emir of qatar you know intervening pretty pretty strongly or at least suggesting intervention in syria and playing a real supporting role with mohamed morsi in egypt while the same time you know maintaining an authoritarian state in his own country so you see that you know these questions are not always about you know spreading freedom or democracy but there's a there's a pretty macchiavelli and power play that goes on you know throughout these sorts of issues as your question about you know what sorts of democracies we can expect to look for i think when mohamed morsi gave a series of interviews recently with the new york times and then a gun again on charlie rose kind of explaining to the american audience what he how he viewed democratic egypt and more broadly i'm up how democracy could be adopted in north africa in the middle east in general and i think he was pretty clear and pretty articulate on the subject you know that culture is very the role of religion
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in politics varies across the world and. you know there's not a western or one size fits all model for what democracy can look like and and at least in egypt they seem to be charting or at least beginning to chart their own way and mixing islam and democracy and trying to come up with a you know an approach to democracy that has actual cultural roots and i think that at least. you know an articulate view of mohamed morsi was quite articulate in the new york times on that subject you know what do you think about what's the role of islam and democracy and you know a tandem can they work together because western media a lot of pundits are very skeptical. they've been spectacle skeptical for a long time but i think those frameworks have collapsed with the arab spring we have seen. right left islam is religious non-religious all sorts of groups essentially what the populations want in the most essential is terms they
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want more voice in the government and more representation of course depending on the country depending on the constant level of conservatism religiosity etc those will have an influence on the government structures and have a bigger role in the public space as the people have more wars but if the rule of law prevails and you you're allowed to express your opinion and come into the political system and represent your group in a legitimate way that will be the future that should be the future of the region of course there are many. conservative forces in the region including gulf countries working against this trend and they don't dare support for syria does not necessarily mean that they want democracy in syria but rather confront the iranian
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influence there that's but that that that will be part of the story that's unavoidable. but the way turkey sees this it's the majority versus minority in syria that that is the. minority that's crushing the majority of the population who are demanding a bigger voice in government and say in their own future. naseem when you start you're the one that mentioned about the kind of democracy i mean is what kind of islamic democracy can you expect and a lot of people still in the west or various was suspicious of islam and its values ok as if somehow western values are superior excuse me that but that's how it spun yeah i'm always suspicious about using islam within a tech to perform islamic. room of islam essentially is a religion is a set of values set of ethics it's really about how the individual relates to god
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and his position within the cosmos. take it further brutally in turn islamic project and say this islamic politics is really. we can turn into whatever we want is a man made idea man made vision of how we want to imagine our society our politics to be so live as a religion islam how is interpreted by human beings and how they create political projects with the idea of their position with a cause but that's a separate issue about within that spectrum you have various trends as you have with any other parts of the world you have muslims who see who see that democracy is a person i'm going to jump in here we're going to go to a short break gentlemen now and after that short break we'll continue our discussion of future of the arab spring state. and i.
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want. to. you you to .
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car is a report on r.t. . and a. welcome across town to my job we're talking about the arab middle east. ok. ok let's see if i go back to you in london i'll be quite honest with all of you i was quite appalled by mr obama's address to the united nations i mean it's a very american centric view of changes in the in the arab middle east here and it was a very much out of american interest which of course you know we can expect that from the president ok but you know again kind of monopolizing the idea of democracy and human rights etc and that's what was your reaction to the president's speech. when
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there was lots of nice sounding rhetoric and words you do not think you go as usual and you have to given that this is an election year you have to make excuses in some ways because he he has to pander to the right slightly because of all the accusations it's made against him so i think he's he's thinking about the reelection he's thinking about how he's perceived in terms of his position with regard to israel and palestine so he's making statements that are a lot more right wing than you might expect from a from a liberal in any other year not election year and within that you can see the grand narrative which you presented was again this this clash of values as the muslim somehow have to rediscover or dislike well as to rediscover the values of the west like freedom of speech but islam has no problem with freedom of speech everyone knows every sane minded person will know something like freedom of speech stops when you when it becomes a live freedom and stops freedom of speech stops when it becomes when it becomes
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when it becomes slander so that this is this is obvious to any sane minded person and to present. division within the islamic world and american western values based on this cartoon which dominated the majority of his cartoon i think was not was not was law encouraging for me. and and this is as i said maybe can be excused but from from this low point of view a muslim point of view i think the cartoon really is should not dominate dominate the discourse between islam and the western world as the saying goes if falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest and you have probably no point one percent of the population in the muslim world who actually went on a demonstration not even violent just normal demonstration and that seems to have multiple lies the whole discourse between the west and islam. you have statements
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like why isn't the why are most i'm so easily offended why are. basically except freedom of speech but again we're talking about apples and oranges here people in the west don't understand the position of the profit within their hearts and minds of the muslims and if this is really a sacred issue it's like. saying what is what is. denying the holocaust or something or muslims denying freedom of speech if we're going to say we want to take your sacred values like freedom of speech that would be seen as intolerant so you have to agree with you of if i go to you how do you feel about that being i mean it is the west in the arab world in the muslim world at such cross purposes right now i mean there's a hierarchy of values that are so much in contrast. well i think i mean looking at obama's speech there is i don't think anyone is surprised that the sort of widespread amnesia that goes on in the political discourse in the west about the
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role of the united states and europe in propping up authoritarian regimes in the region and i think one of the reasons why the speech rings so false for a lot of people watching outside of the western world is because you know people who people who don't live in the west tend to have longer memories about these sorts of things you know i mean the obama administration would like the narrative of the united states in the middle east to begin the day that he supported the revolution in egypt and actually it doesn't work that way so i mean i think that. americans tend to have just very short memories about the government's role in middle eastern politics and that to me i think is a shame as to the question about the way mr obama drew the distinction about blasphemy and free speech and i think this is an issue that's very difficult for americans to understand but i think a part of it is as you said is because a lot of a lot of americans tend to see themselves as having a monopoly on free speech and human rights issues thinking that those you know those sorts of norms emanate from christian values or from some sort of purely
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american set of morals which obviously is not true there's vast reservoir is for you know to defend freedom of speech in any tradition around the world and broad major religious or cultural tradition but this is something that you know part of the grand narrative of american exceptionalism which dominates the way that americans understand themselves in the world i don't think you're ever going to get the majority of americans to to admit that the same values that americans cherish can be found in even originated perhaps outside of america and a lot of cases so people like to jump on these these these incidents like the protests surrounding the video which of course is on the scene mentioned was a small protest thousands in the number in the thousands you know this is doesn't it all indicate the widespread view of muslims. or arabs and you know living living in the middle east or in the islamic world in general but americans like to cling onto that sort of reaction or to reinforce
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a perception that you know respect for freedom of speech or respect for human rights is something intrinsic to the american experience to the western experience and that we are in a role of teaching or sharing with the rest of the world and. where i mean anything if i say no no can i just had to take for what is it strikes me it strikes me as odd when obama and many other american presidents would always say american values are universal values they always precede the universal values american values if they're universal why why try and claim those values as american values. freedom of speech is not your american value it is in a sense a universal value which manifests in different ways in different societies so. democracy. democracy these are universal values would have to say these american liberal values which we which will take over which will take to run the world impose through the barrel of the gun but the universal values at the same time if they are universal they manifest differently universally that you. go back to you
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know i want to go to washington you know if these values are so universal and they are equated with american values then why is the united states so close in the arab world. i. i i don't think it is this these demonstrations should be reduced to a discussion of human rights and whose value is there whether you darian averse or western etc we have to see and understand and appreciate the pull to go context these protests took place this is not the sort of first incident about sort of americans looking like they're insulting or attacking islam there are you know starting with ghraib and all those things in iraq in pakistan koran burnings etc so it accumulates these things of course there is a provocation on the ground there is not other but that but the wide spread
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discontent with the american policies not necessarily of today but the legacy of our american policies just an example withdrawal from iraq for american sort of full foreign policy establishment is is quite sufficient to feel that they are now somehow redeemed but the region does not necessarily care if i call you if i could give an example i mean you know i don't know how often mr obama does but he signs these documents to use drones to kill people almost every single drone every use kills muslims i mean the muslim world knows that well that's obama's strategy with national security has been to make sure that he looked strong on national security and what i know you know like well you know one point always happen is the perception is america's war on islam. that are there so that's certainly not many of them really if that's the procession of some people of course
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and that does what it is and i want to say it the broad broad segments of the population i agree with that that argument does resonate with a large segment of people and they do go out to demonstrate not necessarily on this obscure specific more we that america this american made in the past ten years of class ok so you're going to just. go ahead for many muslims around the world they see this is one in the same thing the cartoon the drones the ok show and. then without it would be that there was because it does cause a lot of the muslim that. i don't know if i think for you and i around the world to have a much much more nuanced view what i'm saying i'm trying to let me explain myself what i'm saying is for you and i we can take a very nuanced understanding many muslims do take
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a very nuanced understanding but the politics as defined by actions are now do is taking place on the streets in the arab world and in america so the point i'm making is that for a lot of muslims who are angry they see this cartoon as again part of the same narrative same campaign as the drones in pakistan as the forces in iraq is what's happened over the last two decades in. iraq so this is one and the same things are that is why when when obama goes up on stage and tries to exert american values as though they're universal values for many muslims they would say this is a hypocrisy there's a contradiction between what america aspires to what america wants to impose in the world and what it well what we know what it claims to be so there's a big gap between the reality and the aspirations of america that's how most muslims will surely see this is going to. be to jump in berkeley go ahead. i mean i think also though it's important not to ignore sort of the local dynamics
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in place and on all these protests or when we talk about reactions the middle east have to are just pure reactions or are a responses to what's going on in america i mean there is there is a deep political confiscation going on right now especially in egypt between more right wing elements and salaf the parties and the muslim brotherhood and a lot of these demonstrations are mobilizations in front of and many embassies are actually you know best placed in the context of regional dynamics and local politics at a contest station between different different groups who are trying to mobilize and and you know assert a certain view of islamic politics so i think and i think it's also been shown that the places where these demonstrations were strong as were places where there were a preexisting networks you know islamic mobilization and this is because these types of protests are not just purely reactions to what's going on to the west in the west it's not this sort of an organized mob there are existing networks it's also part of it is also the heart of it all mystic politics yes and the mystic
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politics requires i mean i think it is important to understand it you know understand these events not just as a pure reaction to what's going on in america but as part of all right gentlemen we've run out of time fascinating discussion many thanks today to my guests in washington london and in berkeley and thanks to our viewers for watching us here he she takes time to remember. and. there are those who just really need it to survive. despoiled kong is a ton of money on look i. won't build in the fish. and the suppresses the prize the
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